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Monday Jun 14 2021

In interview with Canadian media, PM Imran Khan says terrorism has no religion


Prime Minister Imran Khan talks to CBC’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton.

  • PM Imran Khan gives interview to CBC’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton.
  • Says online hate is dividing the world and calls for action against it.
  • Urges world leaders to understand the phenomenon of Islamophobia

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday called for strict action against websites fanning hatred to create a divide in humanity and urged the Muslim world to present their case at international forums to improve understanding about Islam.

The prime minister, in an interview with the CBC’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton, said the use of terms Islamic extremism and Islamic radical started after the publication of Salman Rushdie’s book and then the 9/11 incident.

The prime minister highlighted the grave issue of Islamophobia in the Western world which claimed the lives of four members of a Pakistan-origin family in Ontario last week.

The Canadian police say the family was targeted because they were Muslim. The family moved to Canada from Pakistan in 2007.

‘Islamophobia needs to be countered holistically'

The prime minister said the use of the term “Islamic radicals” indicates there is something wrong with the religion which makes people radical. Contrarily, terrorism has no religion as extremists are found in every society, he added.

He said Muslims living in western countries, not the Muslim states, suffered due to Islamophobia and called for closing the gap by improving understanding.

“Everyone is shocked in [Pakistan], because we saw the family picture, and so a family being targeted like that has had a deep impact in Pakistan,” Prime Minister Khan said.

The prime minister said the recent pattern of domestic terror in Western countries demanded a heightened focus on online radicalization.

After the tragic incident, the prime minister took to his Twitter handle and said he was "saddened to learn of the killing of a Muslim Pakistani-origin Canadian family in London, Ontario.”

He said the condemnable act of terrorism revealed the growing Islamophobia in Western countries. “Islamophobia needs to be countered holistically by the international community,” he remarked.

Read more: New Zealand's PM Jacinda Ardern criticises mosque attacks film amid backlash

‘Some world leaders do not understand the problem’

The prime minister told the interviewer that he had raised the issue with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau, describing him as a leader who understood the importance of fighting online hate and Islamophobia.

He urged other leaders to make such a commitment. “World leaders, whenever they decide upon taking action, this will be dealt with,” he opined.

PM Khan reiterated that there was not enough motivation and that some international leaders, or leaders in Western countries, actually did not understand this phenomenon.

He further said that he “mostly agrees” with Trudeau and his position on extremism, but also expressed concern with some Canadian laws that he believed were contributing to Islamophobia.

Read more: Farewell given to Muslim family killed in truck attack with coffins draped in Canadian flags

‘Secular extremism

He described Quebec’s Bill 21 — which banned public servants, including teachers and police officers from wearing religious symbols at work — as a form of “secular extremism” that led to intolerance against Muslims.

“You want humans to basically be free to express the way they want to be, as long as it doesn’t cause pain and hurt to other human beings,” he emphasized.

He asked as to why it became a big issue when someone wears Hijab or grows a beard in the west. “People objecting to Hijab and a beard is quite bizarre for me. In liberal democracies, why this is an issue,” he questioned.